Thailand's customs tariff is primarily for revenue, although in a limited fashion it protects local industry. No preferential treatment is afforded any country and all goods are subject to the general rate. Only a few goods require import licenses, including some foods, materials, and industrial products. Products banned from import include aerosol mixtures of vinyl chloride monomers (for health reasons) and products constituting trademark infringement.
The Thai government began to reduce tariffs in 1994, although progress was impeded in 1997 due to a shortfall in government revenue. Still, duties that had ranged between 30–60% have been cut to between 1–45% with the total number of tariff bands reduced from 39 to 6. There is a zero rate for essential items like medical equipment and fertilizer. The rate is 30% for certain items designated as needing special protection, like fabrics, clothing, refrigerators, and air conditioners In addition to tariffs, some imports designated as luxury goods are subject to an excise tax.
Thailand is a member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the World Trade Organization (WTO). ASEAN members have established the ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA), which aims to reduce tariffs on most processed agricultural and industrial products traded among ASEAN countries to 0–5% by the year 2003. A proposal to link the economies of Australia and New Zealand to AFTA is also under discussion.